WC Vision, producers of the Pirelli World Challenge, today announced the appointment of Dr. Preston Calvert as Medical Advisor for North America’s premier GT Production-based road racing series and director of the series’ new mTBI Screening Program for driver safety.
Calvert, a nationally-recognized Neurologist and Neuro-Ophthalmologist for over 30 years, will serve as an advisor to the Pirelli World Challenge Safety Team.
In addition, the Potomac, Md., physician will work closely with Marcus Haselgrove, WC Vision vice-president, Competition, and Peter Roberts, Pirelli World Challenge chief steward, as an advisor for the emergency medical services for racing venues in the 2017 PWC schedule.
Calvert’s background in the fields of neurology and neuro-ophthalmology is extensive, including training and serving at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Hospital since the 1970s.
Currently a driver in PWC’s SprintX and GT Cup classes, Calvert has served as president and chairman of the National Neuro-Ophthalmology Society and remains on its Board of Directors.
While accumulating over 20 years as a practicing neuro-ophthalmologist, Calvert worked at Johns Hopkins as both vice-chair of Johns Hopkins’ Department of Neurology and director of the Neuro-Ophthalmology for two years.
After retiring from his practice, Calvert entered the motorsports world as a competitor with his Calvert Dynamics team and was “Rookie of the Year” in the GTS class in 2015 and captured two SprintX race wins with Michael Lewis in 2016.
In 2017, Calvert has implemented the new PWC mTBI (minimal Traumatic Brain Injury) Screening Program as port of the protocol for possible concussion testing among PWC drivers.
The screening will involve a brief questionnaire called the SCAT3 test, with sporting questions adapted to motorsports participation, as well as a test of eye movement and panning called the King-Devick Test.
“I’m extremely pleased to be working with the Pirelli World Challenge as a medical advisor and also initiate the new mTBI screening program,” said Calvert.
“We believe this exciting new testing program will become the easiest format to screen drivers of a possible concussion symptom with a quick 20-minute test.
“Both Marcus and Peter were very interested in the mTBI screening program when I proposed it and how it could be implemented into the PWC testing.
“We met with the GT/GTA drivers at Long Beach and the program was very favorably received. Both tests have well-validated in a number of sports settings.
“The testing is actually easy for the drivers right at the track. We plan to begin testing at the next Pirelli World Challenge event at VIRginia International Raceway (April 28-30).”
The SCAT3 and the King-Devick Test have peer-reviewed medical literature which substantiates the reliability and broad acceptance of the tools. Both tests complement each other neurologically and are best used in combination for optimal sensitivity and specificity.
Each test can be administered using an iPad device and should take about 20 minutes per driver. The results are stored in electronic form, and easy retesting can be accomplished.
“We are very pleased to have Dr. Calvert increase his involvement in the PWC series in addition to his on-track competition,” said Greg Gill, CEO and president of WC Vision.
“Preston has superb medical credentials to assist the series in several areas including the new mTBI Screening Program. We believe this new program places the Series at the forefront of concussion protocol within the motorsports industry.
“We want to thank Preston for his continued advisement of our series from the medical side as well as his participant as a competitor.”
According to the new mTBI Screening Program, a driver who has evidence of impairment on the trackside tests, and who is removed from competition after an incident, will be withheld from competing for a minimum of three weeks.
This is the minimum acceptable time to allow healing of brain injury after the mTBI test, to prevent increased injury that may result from another mTBI sustained before this healing has occurred.
In exceptional cases, the period of exclusion from competition may be shortened to two weeks at the discretion of the Chief Steward.
For expanded information on the mTBI Screening Program, please look at the racer/participant portal in the Pirelli World Challenge website at www.world-challenge.com.